Jan. 2023 Thumb

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MUSIC TO OUR EARS Big Water Creative Arts Bringing Music Education to Northern Michigan Thumb Electric Cooperative January/February 2023 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES Braun Retiring as General Manager 2022 Photo Contest Winners 2022 TEC Scholarship Winners

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Michigan’s Electric Cooperatives


EDITOR: Christine Dorr


RECIPE EDITOR: Christin McKamey

COPY EDITOR: Yvette Pecha


PUBLISHER: Michigan Electric Cooperative Association

Michigan Country Lines, USPS-591-710, is published monthly, except August and December, with periodicals postage paid at Lansing, Mich., and additional offices. It is the official publication of the Michigan Electric Cooperative Association, 201 Townsend St., Suite 900, Lansing, MI 48933.

Subscriptions are authorized for members of Alger Delta, Cherryland, Great Lakes, HomeWorks Tri-County, Midwest Energy & Communications, Ontonagon, Presque Isle, and Thumb electric cooperatives by their boards of directors.

Postmaster: Send all UAA to CFS.

Association Officers: Tom Sobeck, Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op, chairman; Gabe Schneider, Cherryland Electric Cooperative, vice chairman; Chris O’Neill, HomeWorks TriCounty Cooperative, secretary-treasurer; Craig Borr, president and CEO.

CONTACT US/LETTERS TO EDITOR: Michigan Country Lines 201 Townsend St., Suite 900 Lansing, MI 48933 248-534-7358 editor@countrylines.com

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Please notify your electric cooperative. See page 4 for contact information.

The appearance of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised.

Instagram Contest

Recipe Contest


Guest Column

Mystery Photo


Contents January 2023 Vol. 43, No. 1 /michigancountrylines /michigancountrylines countrylines.com
#micoopcommunity Instagram contest winner Upper Peninsula of Michigan @kaushik0805 (Kaushik Sur) 6 GET IN, GET OUT, GET TO WORK
10 MI
Arts bringing music
Alpena Community College
offers a certificate program for line-clearance arborists.
CO-OP KITCHEN Healthy Living: Feel good from the inside out.
Water Creative
Northern Michigan. 18 GUEST COLUMN The reluctant Boy Scout— A co-op member reflects on how his experience turned out to be one of the best things he has ever done.
enter contests, submit reader content & more, visit
MI Co-op Community To
Win $200
See details on page 18.
details on page 10. Vegetarian due Feb. 1; Breakfast For Dinner due Mar. 1 Win a $100 bill
Use #micoopcommunity for a chance to be featured here and on our Instagram account. Win $100 for photos published!
details on page 18. Win a $100 bill credit!

general manager for the past 13 ½ years.




2231 Main Street

Ubly, MI 48475-0157 1-800-327-0166 or 989-658-8571

E-mail: tec@tecmi.coop



Randall Dhyse, Treasurer District 1 • 989-658-6013

Craig Osentoski, Director District 2 • 989-658-6003

Erica Peruski, Director District 3 • 989-658-6004


Kim Nunn, Vice President District 1 • 989-658-6005

Mike Briolat, Secretary District 2 • 989-658-6006

Duane Kursinsky, Director District 3 • 989-658-6007


Louis Wenzlaff, Director District 1 • 989-658-6008

Jonathan Findlay, President District 2 • 989-658-6010

Matt Sommer, Director District 3 • 989-658-6012

Brad Essenmacher, General Manager


Huron County

Bad Axe—Northstar Bank

Pigeon—Northstar Bank

Tuscola County

Akron—Northstar Bank

Caro—Northstar Bank

Mayville—Mayville State Bank Millington—Mayville State Bank

Thumb Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Happy New Year. Out With The Old, In With The New.


ut with the old and in with the new.” This year, that phrase has a distinct meaning for me and Thumb Electric Cooperative (TEC) as I have decided to enter the world of every day being Saturday and will officially retire at the end of 2022. During my 32-plus-year career at TEC, I have had the opportunity to serve in several positions, including assistant engineer, system engineer, operations and engineering manager, and, finally,

It has been an honor and a privilege to have completed a successful and rewarding career while working for a great organization. A lot of things have changed in the electric industry during this time. One thing that has not changed is the importance and emphasis of the membership of TEC. With every decision made and every dollar spent, the question “Is it in the best interest of our members?” is always part of the conversation. This has always been and will continue to be the foundation of TEC’s success. The cooperative also has nine selfless and dedicated directors who make decisions in the boardroom for the betterment of TEC’s future. The importance of having a great board to work with cannot be overstated, and TEC has been blessed with its past and present directors. Like other TEC leaders before my tenure, it is the ingredients of the employees that are the recipe for success. Having great employees that take ownership of their roles and responsibilities day in and day out is critical and is very much the reason for the success of TEC. While all of the above are instrumental for success as a general manager, none of it happens without a solid foundation of support at

Annual Election Notice For TEC Members

June 2023

In March 2023, a nominating committee of nine Thumb Electric Cooperative members will meet to select a slate of candidates for one director position for District 3 in Huron, Sanilac, and Tuscola counties.

Members served by the cooperative will have an opportunity to vote for positions in each county. The official election results will be announced at the 2023 Annual Meeting on June 10. The District 3 director positions are currently held by Erica Peruski, Duane Kursinsky, and Matt Sommer.

Any co-op member interested in running for a district director position should write a letter to the Thumb Electric nominating committee chairperson prior to Feb. 14, 2023, indicating his or her interest in being nominated.

The committee will review the prospective nominee’s qualifications to determine whether he or she meets bylaw requirements and whether he or she should be placed on the ballot. If you would like more information, please contact the co-op’s general manager, Brad Essenmacher, at 800-327-0166 or 989-658-8571.

4 JANUARY 2023

home. Whether it was bringing calm to frustration, giving a well-thoughtout opposing viewpoint, or providing a “well done” comment when others did not, I attribute 100% of my success to the love of my life and high-school sweetheart Amy. She has been, in some manner or another, helping me evolve into the person I am for almost four decades now. This has sometimes been a tougher task than you might imagine. While it is bittersweet and much will be missed, Amy and I are looking forward to our next chapter of life as TEC moves to its next chapter of success.

Hiring the general manager is the board of directors’ most important responsibility, and it is theirs alone. I am happy and excited for the future of TEC as the board of directors has given their vote of confidence to Brad Essenmacher, the current TEC broadband manager. During his 13 years of employment at TEC, Brad has held several positions, including member service representative, member service and marketing manager, and broadband manager.

Prior to starting his career at TEC, Brad owned and operated Sand Beach Electric for 12 years, performing residential, commercial, industrial, and agriculture contract work.

As a Thumb native, Essenmacher was born and raised in the area and is a graduate of Harbor Beach High School. Brad obtained a business associate degree from Delta College while he also worked to obtain his journeyman’s and master’s electrical licenses. Upon starting his career with TEC, he earned a bachelor’s of business degree from Northwood University while working full-time. Brad and his wife of 34 years, Julie, have a daughter and son-in-law, two sons, and three grandchildren. He currently serves on the Sigel Township board as a trustee, first elected in 2008, and has also served on the Verona Hills Golf Club board of directors for several years, holding the positions of president, vice president, and secretary along the way.

As broadband manager, Brad has been overseeing TEC’s $85 million

Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) project, as well as managing our newly acquired internet service provider, Air Advantage. I am confident that General Manager Essenmacher and the board of directors will continue to guide TEC in a positive direction. We have some of the best employees to make that happen, both at TEC and Air Advantage, which will make the job much easier. TEC has met the goal of providing a reliable source of electricity to the rural areas of the Thumb for over 85 years. Upon completion of bringing high-speed FTTH internet service to every TEC member and the surrounding communities, TEC will have another success story to share.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Save The Date



This year’s Annual Meeting will again be held at the Octagon Barn near Gagetown. The meeting will be held on Saturday, June 10, 2023, with registration starting at 9 a.m. and the business meeting starting at 10 a.m. You will be listening to updates on cooperative improvements, and the results of the director elections will be announced. As always, there will be entertainment for the kids with balloons, face painting, bucket truck rides, and more!

When the meeting concludes, lunch will be served, and you will then be able to enjoy the Octagon Barn sites and exhibits.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to have completed a successful and rewarding career while working for a great organization.”—Dallas Braun
Brad Essenmacher

Get In, Get Out, Get to Work

Tornados in Michigan are unexpected and rare—but they can, and will, happen. Proof is the EF-3 class tornado that tore through Gaylord, Michigan, in May of 2022, leaving a swath of destruction and claiming two lives.

After the tornado, area residents were left without power. That is when the utility lineworkers and line-clearance arborists rolled in to begin the massive restoration process.

What is the difference between lineworkers and line-clearance arborists? While the lineworker focuses on the equipment related to the electrical conductor, line-clearance arborists focus on the vegetation surrounding energized systems. Neither can function properly without the other.

Utility companies and line-clearance contractors both constantly scrutinize weather forecasts and right-of-way maintenance in anticipation of events. When an outage occurs, the power company is dispatched to assess the damage while line-clearance arborists are alerted to clear the trees and vegetation from the damaged power lines after the utility company de-energizes them. It is a true team effort.

The second significant difference between the two job titles is training. Traditionally, if someone wanted to become a line-clearance arborist, they would apply at a tree service company, go through their orientation, and then complete close to one year’s worth of on-the-job training. Conversely, lineworkers often undergo substantial classroom and field training, over an extended period.

Tree service workers in general face many hazards in the course of their work. Those hazards increase further

for line-clearance arborists whose work involves electrical lines. That’s why proper training is so important. Alpena Community College (ACC) has taken its mastery of training lineworkers and expanded it to offer a safety-centric certificate program for line-clearance arborists. This new, noncredit, one-semester Utility Arborist Line Clearance Program is designed for those interested in working in this industry, allowing students to complete the required training and have the potential for job offers in just four months. Work in the program is coordinated with the established Utility Technology Certificate Program and allows the Utility Line Clearance students to build skills around de-energized primary wires, which is not offered by similar programs at other institutions.

Making a living as a line-clearance arborist has many of the same draws as a utility lineworker: excellent compensation, opportunities to grow, the freedom to work outside, a team environment, the ability to help people—and the thrill of climbing. The ACC program is built for those who like to work outside, are adventure seekers, are up for a challenge, are able to work in a team, and do not want to sit in an office.

For more information on how to become a line-clearance arborist or to register for the training program, contact Program Director Walter Wiltse at 989-358-7284 or wiltsew@alpenacc.edu, or visit https://discover.alpenacc.edu/ programs/degrees_and_programs/ utility_arborist.php.


• Anyone 18+ who likes to work outside

• Thrill/adventure seekers

• Up for a challenge

• Physically fi t

• Able to work in a team

• Doesn’t want to sit in an offi ce

• All training required to be a utility arborist

• Chainsaw safety

• OSHA 10

• First Aid/CPR certifi cate

• Knowledge to pass pesticide application test

• Preparation for CDL training

• Electrical Hazard Awareness Program training

• Aerial rescue training

• Highly qualifi ed instructors

• Alpena Community College, Alpena, Michigan

• After program completion, job opportunities anywhere in Michigan

• Many career options such as management, equipment operator, right-away operator, and leadership opportunities

• First cohort of program— all students were offered a job with at least $40k annual salary plus benefi ts



TEC awarded four members with a $50 bill credit for being selected in a random drawing of all contest entries that appeared in Michigan Country Lines in 2022. Thank you to the many TEC members who participated. Members are welcome to send in photos for our 2023 contest.

Ice Cream. Sarah Durr (July/Aug.) Ice Cream. Kay Particka (July/Aug.) Fire & Ice. Denise Rulason (Jan./Feb.) Antique Rides. Ronald Milz (May/June)

Submit Your “Pets” Photos by Jan. 20!

Submit your “Pets” photos by Jan. 20 for the March/April issue! Submit your best photo and encourage your friends to vote! The photo receiving the most votes will be printed in an issue of Country Lines along with some of our other favorites.

Enter Your Photos And Win A Bill Credit!

To enter the contest, visit tecmi.coop/photo-contest. Enter your picture, cast your vote, and encourage others to vote for you as well. If your photo is printed in Country Lines during 2023, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of four $50 credits on your December 2023 bill.

4 7 8 3 6 1 2
to win a $50 energy bill credit!
Enter for a chance
Heather Wyckoff 3. First time
Ona Warchuck 4. A boy and his dog. Robert Graves 5. Buried
Robert Daniels 6. Enjoying
Joette Klein 7.
Durr 8.
1. When
through the snow.
playing putt-putt.
the fire.
Day trip to Port Austin. Sarah
The joy of seeing the beauty of autumn for the first time. Kaylee Guza
Dad unintentionally drops turnip
in the yard. Leeann Hunt



Kerri Hanson, Great Lakes Energy

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)

2 cups almond milk or milk of choice

1 cup plain Greek or nondairy yogurt ¼ cup chia seeds

¼ cup pure maple syrup or honey

Topping Options:

• Blueberry: blueberries (fresh, frozen, or dried) and chopped walnuts

• Pina Colada: pineapple tidbits, 1 tablespoon coconut, ½ teaspoon vanilla

• PB&J: jam on bottom, peanut butter on top

• Pear: diced pear, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and chopped pecans

• Caramel Apple: diced apple, caramel sauce, and chopped peanuts

• Chocolate Raspberry: raspberries (fresh or frozen), 1–2 teaspoons cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips

To make the base, in a medium bowl, mix together the oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, and maple syrup/honey. Stir until combined. Portion 1-cup servings into 4 wide-mouth, 16-ounce canning jars (or another airtight container) and top with any additional toppings as desired.

These toppings can be stirred into the base recipe, or customize each jar by putting them separately in the bottom of the jar before filling. The possibilities are endless. Place lids on and refrigerate overnight. When refrigerated, these overnight oats can last for up to 5 days.

Watch a video of this month’s winning recipe at micoopkitchen.com/videos

Photos by Robert Bruce Photography || Recipes submitted by MCL readers and tested by recipe editor Christin McKamey
CO-OP Recipes
Recipe Contest Win a $100 energy bill credit! Vegetarian due Feb. 1, Breakfast For Dinner due Mar. 1 Submit your favorite recipe for a chance to win a $100 bill credit and have your recipe featured in Country Lines with a photo and a video. Submit your recipe at micoopkitchen.com , or send it via email (include your full name and co-op) to recipes@countrylines.com HEALTHY LIVING Feel good from the inside out. 10 JANUARY 2023



1 cup quinoa

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water

1 can drained medium ripe olives, or 1 cup pitted kalamata olives

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup green bell pepper, diced

½ cup diced celery

1 cup feta cheese, cubed or crumbled

½ cup walnuts, halved


½ cup olive oil

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 shallot, diced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Cook quinoa in broth according to package directions. Combine dressing ingredients and add to the cooked quinoa while still warm. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and stir until combined. Enjoy!

6–8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

• olive oil or butter

• salt and pepper, to season

1 onion, thinly sliced

2–4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans chopped Italian-style tomatoes

½ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ –½ cup feta cheese

1 can black olives

2 cans quartered artichokes

Preheat oven to 350 F. Brown chicken breasts in oil or butter in frying pan. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish. Add more oil or butter to pan; sauté the sliced onions and garlic. Add the canned tomatoes and blend the spices in with the onions and garlic. Bring the tomato mixture to a simmer, then pour over chicken breasts in baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove baking dish from oven and sprinkle feta cheese, olives, and artichokes over the top. Put back in oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve with orzo, couscous, or rice.



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium white onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ¼ -inch cubes

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup tomato juice

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1 head green cabbage, cored and chopped

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon dried thyme


teaspoon celery salt

1 bay leaf

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once simmering, add onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes. Sauté until the vegetables start to soften, about 5–7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Pour in broth and tomato juice and stir. Add the diced tomatoes, cabbage, salt, black pepper, sugar, thyme, celery salt, and bay leaf. Bring contents to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30–40 minutes, until the cabbage is wilted and the vegetables are soft. Remove bay leaf. Enjoy!


Judy Bergeski, Presque Isle

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons seasoned salt (Lawry’s) or homemade seasoning mix (below)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed, cut into 1-inch thick slices *cut from top down, so the slices look like cauliflower “trees”

• fresh parsley, for garnish

Homemade Seasoning Mix:

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried dill

Mix together the brown sugar and seasoned salt (or homemade seasoning mix). Preheat grill to medium-high heat (can also use a panini maker) and lightly oil/spray the grill. Brush olive oil on one side of each cauliflower slice. Then sprinkle the sugar/seasoning mix over top. Repeat on other side. Save leftover spices for the next time. Place on grill or in panini maker and close lid. Cook 2–3 minutes per side. Check for doneness; should be forktender, but not mushy. Transfer to plate and sprinkle with fresh parsley (optional). Serve with ranch dressing for dipping, or balsamic glaze. Goes well with diced tomatoes and some crusty bread.

Joan Bissonette, Great Lakes Energy Virginia Czarnecki, HomeWorks Tri-County Finedell, Great Lakes Energy

TEC Linemen Respond To House Fire

wo Thumb Electric Cooperative (TEC) journeyman linemen recently put their safety training into action when they responded to a house fire on Atwater Road, between Ubly and Parisville.

On the afternoon of Oct. 3, Jim Vogel and Shane Maurer were returning from a jobsite when they noticed what appeared to be flames coming from the back corner of a house, but they didn’t see any smoke. There were cars in the driveway, but no one was outside. Not sure if what they saw was fire, the two pulled into the driveway, ready to call the fire department and offer their help.

Once in the driveway, they could clearly tell the house was on fire. Jim grabbed a fire extinguisher from the truck and began attacking the flames while Shane called 911. The homeowner came outside with his own fire extinguisher, but it was too small to be of much help. Every time Jim thought the flame was finally put out, he heard embers popping and the flame returned. Shane was able to flag down a police car that happened to be

driving by, while Jim continued to fight the flames until the fire department arrived and took over.

“Jim and Shane undoubtedly prevented the fire from becoming larger and potentially destroying the home,” said Anthony Schember, safety coordinator at TEC. “And, if the fire spread or grew too large, there’s a good chance the elderly residents might not have made it out.”

The fire is believed to have been started by hot embers that blew from a nearby burning barrel and landed between the deck and the home’s siding.

TEC linemen receive annual training on proper fire extinguisher operation and inspection. Fire extinguishers are carried on all TEC equipment for emergency use and are inspected by the linemen regularly to ensure they are in proper working condition.

“Co-op employees across the state regularly go above and beyond to help people in need,” said MECA Safety Director Joe McElroy. “Jim and Shane are part of that distinguished group.”

250forMbps per month $ 85 1 forGig per month $125 with additional discounts for TEC Members! or To preregister, register, or get more information, go to tecmi.coop/fiber or scan the QR code with your phone’s camera. Your Clear Advantage for Internet Service TEC Members: Have You Signed Up for TEC Fiber Yet? We have multiple internet packages to fit your needs. T
Jim Vogel Shane Maurer
Financing for up to $22,500 at 5% interest, payable for 10 years for the following: • Geothermal • Air Source Heat Pumps • Gas Furnaces/Electric Heat Systems • Central Air Conditioning • Storm & Thermal Windows and Doors • Wall, Ceiling, and Floor Installation • EV Charging Stations • Member-Owned Renewables & Community Solar • Other Energy Efficient Equipment or Measures Go Paperless And Win A $20 BILL CREDIT No longer required to read your own meter? Want to be environmentally friendly? Would you like to save yourself and your co-op members money? What a great time to go paperless! One Winner Will Be Chosen Each Month! • All members enrolled in paperless billing are eligible. • Sign up online at tecmi.coop or via SmartHub. • Winners will be announced on TEC’s Facebook page. • Paperless members will receive an email or text letting them know their bill is available to view. Energy Efficiency Loan Program For Existing Homes Low-cost financing for qualifying members making energy efficiency upgrades For more information, visit tecmi.coop or call 989-658-8571 ANNUAL OPERATING COSTS—FOR AN AVERAGE 1,800-SQUARE-FOOT HOME (45,000 BTU Heating Load, 20,000 BTU Cooling Load) $6,000 $4,000 $0 $2,000 AAHeat Pumpw/LP Electric Baseboard LP FuelOil Natural Gas AAw/Elec.Baseboard Geothermal $2,318 $1,965 $689 $3,228 $5,527 $1,664 $1,621 Factors Used: Electric Baseboard, Air-Source Heat Pump, and Geothermal based on TEC's 7.890/kWh Interruptible Electric Heating rate. LP Gas based on $2.48/gal. and 93% efficient furnace. Fuel Oil based on $4.96/gal. and 80% efficient furnace. Natural Gas based on $1.27/therm. and 93% efficient furnace including $9/mo. service charge. (Electric baseboard operating costs do not include air conditioning.) 13 MICHIGAN COUNTRY LINES

Big Water Creative Arts Bringing Music Education

To Northern Michigan

So many of us have fond memories of art and music classes in our school days. So often, it was a chance to decompress from math, science, English, or history, but the arts in learning have always been about a bit more. Studies have shown improvements in math, reading, and critical thinking can all be linked to engagement in artistic or creative endeavors.* So, it is not just a sense of melancholy that makes it upsetting that so many school systems have had to decrease funding for art programs and sometimes eliminate them altogether.

It’s this reality that spurred Michelle Chenard and Pete Kehoe of Big Water Creative Arts to turn their passion for music into a bigger purpose.

“Music has always given Michelle and me so much,” said Kehoe, director of the board at Big Water Creative Arts. “It felt like time for us to return the favor.”

Chenard and Kehoe are longtime friends and sometimes creative partners who have enjoyed their own lives as musicians. Chenard, originally from the Upper Peninsula, took her talent on the road working the music circuit in the southern United States and finally back to Michigan. Kehoe, from Gladwin, has been in Petoskey since 1999. While they’ve worked on songs together and played in Michigan for decades, it was a songwriting workshop they were holding on Mackinac Island that was the first step in creating Big Water Creative Arts.

14 JANUARY 2023

“We had been doing this threeday songwriting workshop for a few years, but never quite got in the black,” said Kehoe. “Then we started talking and realizing we wanted to also do something that had a more far-reaching impact.”

The two were keenly aware that school music programs had been losing funding year after year, with many rural communities in their own backyard with no programming at all.

It started with a songwriting workshop for Mancelona Public Schools. Music programming spread to Petoskey, Pellston, Gaylord, Cheboygan, and so on. Today, Big Water Creative Arts offers multiple programs for arts education for elementary and middle school students, as well as senior and adult special education programs.

While BWCA offers these music classes free to all students, they depend on grants, donations, and fundraising from their

annual event in September. As interest grows amongst students and school administrators, the strain on the nonprofit’s budget increases.

“We are always looking for community partners who want to help bring music education to Northern Michigan,” said Kehoe. “We want to take the cost barrier out of the equation so it can be available to all.”

This is what the folks at Big Water Creative Arts do. They see a need, look at their resources, and make musical magic happen in their community.

“It’s our dream that every kid who wants to play, sing, or express themselves musically can do that without worrying about economics or funding,” said Kehoe. “Music is a right for everyone. It makes for more engaged, confident, and happy people. And that just makes the world better.”

If you’d like to help support Big Water Creative Arts, here’s how:

To donate: bigwatercreativearts.org smile.amazon.com (BWCA) bigwatercreativearts@gmail.com Big Water Creative Arts, Inc. P.O. Box 124, Petoskey, MI 49770

For more information: /bigwatercreativearts /bigwatercreativeartsinc


*Source: President’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities, 2011

“Music is a right for everyone. It makes for more engaged, confident, and happy people. And that just makes the world better.”
Photos by: Jessica Wynder Photography (top of page 14), Johnny Ulibarri (left), and Alex Childress (cover and top right)

TEC Director Achieves Credential in Today’s Electric Utility Competencies

TEC would like to congratulate Director Craig Osentoski for recently receiving the Credentialed Cooperative Director certificate from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

An ever-changing business environment has imposed new demands on electric cooperative directors, requiring increased knowledge of changes in the electric utility business, new governance skills, and a firm understanding of the cooperative principles and business model. TEC is

committed to working through NRECA to sharpen this body of knowledge for the benefit of our members.

The NRECA Credentialed Cooperative Director program requires attendance and demonstrated understanding of essential competencies contained in five core courses:

• Director Duties and Liabilities

• Understanding the Electric Business

• Board Operations and Process

• Strategic Planning

• Financial Decision Making

Energy Waste Reduction Rebate Program 2023 Visit TEC’s website for more information at www.tecmi.coop/rebates. 2023 Battery-Powered Equipment Rebates Battery-Powered Lawn Mowers: $100–$500 Battery-Powered Lawn Care Equipment: $25-$100 Battery-Powered Power Washer: Up to $300 Battery-Powered Snow Blower: Up to $300 2023 Heating/ Air Conditioning Rebates Central Air Conditioning System (14 SEER+): $200 Air Source Heat Pump w/ Electric Furnace: $1,500 Air Source Heat Pump w/ Fossil Fuel: $1,000 Mini-Split Heat Pump: $1,000 Ground Source Heat Pump (EER 17+): $2,000 Heat Pump Water Heater: $500

TEC Scholarship Winners

This past year, the TEC Board of Directors approved the offering of $1,500 scholarships to 2022 graduates in the Thumb area. The winners were Brooke Gordon of North Huron High School and Matt Osentoski of Bad Axe High School.

Brooke is currently attending Northwood University, where she plays softball and is majoring in marketing communications. Brooke said, “I am so grateful to receive this scholarship! I am very proud to represent the Thumb Electric Cooperative! It is a great organization!”

Matt is currently attending Alpena Community College and is pursuing a career as a utility technician. Matt said, “Thank you for the scholarship. It will help me towards my utility technician degree at Alpena Community College.”

TEC would like to congratulate Brooke and Matt, and we wish them the best of luck in their future careers.

Notice To Members Of Data Privacy Policy

The Thumb Electric Cooperative Board of Directors has adopted a policy governing the collection, use, and disclosure of member account information and usage data.

A full copy of the Data Privacy Policy can be found in Part V of Thumb Electric’s Tariff Book, Sheet C-24.00, https://static1.squarespace.com/ static/53d1298ee4b05883d212ae70/t/5c93e084e79c70e6a7d67127/1553195141567/Thumb+Electric+Cooperative+Rate+Book.pdf.

If you would like a hard copy of the Data Privacy Policy, call our office at 1-800-327-0166 or contact us at tecmi.coop/tec-contact-form.

Notice To Members Of Thumb Electric Cooperative Tariff Changes Effective Feb. 1, 2023

The Thumb Electric Cooperative Board of Directors acted on and adopted revisions to the cooperative’s tariffs at a special open board meeting held on Nov. 22, 2022, in accordance with P.A. 167:  Revised tariffs include D-4.00, D-5.00, D-6.00, D-7.00, D-8.00, D-9.00, D-10.00, D-11.00, D-12.01, D-13.00, D-15.00, D-16.00, and D-25.00. For specific details on any Thumb Electric Cooperative tariffs, please call 1-800-327-0166 or visit TEC’s website at tecmi.coop.

Brooke Gordon Matt Osentoski

Where In Michigan Is This?

The Reluctant Boy Scout

Inever considered Scouting until my father told me I was going to become one. My younger brother decided he wanted to be a Cub Scout and my dad figured I could be very useful keeping tabs on him. I really didn’t think it was for me, but I dutifully joined Troop 57 at the local school. This turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done.

I was a year older than most of the “Tenderfoot” Scouts, but I quickly qualified for 2nd and then 1st class scout and eventually became den chief for my brother’s pack. Our family was already into camping, and the Scouts camped several times a year at Rota-Kiwan in Texas Corners. There were canoe trips, jamborees, the Klondike Derby, and plenty of other events that I loved.

My best friend, Rod, was my assistant when I became the leader of Hawk Patrol. Eventually, my brother joined us, along with several other boys. Our Scoutmaster, Mr. Brown, was an outstanding leader, and several other parents were great mentors and teachers for all of us. In less than three years, I was a Life Scout working on Eagle when I was chosen to join The Order of the Arrow.

Scouting opened so many doors for my brother and me. Our record score and time in the 1964 Klondike Derby still stands! I was big for my age, and soon the other boys began to call me “Hoss” after the Bonanza character played by Dan Blocker. To this day, some of them still greet me that way when I see them. The camping, boating, swimming, crafting, first aid, and other skills I learned during those years still serve me well. I am so grateful that my parents decided to help me on my way to an experience I will never forget.

About The Author: James is retired from a career in the audio/video business. He was also a DJ for more than 40 years. He and his wife enjoy gardening, reading, listening to music, and spending time with their children and grandchildren.

They have performed recorded music at nearly 500 wedding receptions and parties, beginning in 1973. Nov./Dec.
2022 Winner! Our Mystery Photo winner is Leslie Miller, a Thumb Electric Cooperative member, who correctly identified the photo as Hartwick Pines Chapel in Grayling.
are announced in the following issues of Country Lines: January, March, May, July/ August, September, and November/December.
MI CO-OP Guest Column Guest Column Win $200 for stories published! Share your fondest memories and stories. Win $200 for stories published. Visit countrylines.com/community to submit. Mystery Photo Win a $100 energy bill credit!
Identify the correct
to win a $100 electric bill credit. Enter
18 JANUARY 2023
location of
photo above by Jan. 20
be entered into a drawing
your guess at countrylines.com/community
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Thumb Electric Cooperative tecmi.coop facebook.com/thumbelectric

Travel to Washington, D.C., to explore monuments and museums, meet with a member o f Congress, and make lifelong friends with other students from across the country. You'll discover leadership lessons from our nation's history and be immersed in the cooperative spirit that built our nation, with all expenses paid by your local electric cooperative. Yeah, that's pretty amazing. Are you up for it?

Tour Dates: June 14-18, 2023

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